I am 60 years right now, soon to be 61.
I have noticed how people sometimes treat me differently now. They do not see me or hear me as they once did.
Sometimes they will talk down to me.
I witnessed this kind of thing when I was in my 30s. I was even part of it myself when I gleefully read a poem out loud about how getting older can means more emissions from our — ahem — intestines, belly?
Mostly, though, I was educated by the negativity of ageism by the seniors who took “Writing your Life Story” workshops from me.
The following poem is dedicated to the first friends I made when I began to facilitate these workshops at the Age and Opportunity Centre in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba:
Contemporary Verse 2
by Tanya Lester
(To friends in St. Vital)
The day started green
Luke, my three-year-old, running behind
ahead of me
As I walked along the Red where it forks with the Assiniboine
I breathed slowly
An oriole flashed yellow
They came in wheelchairs, six of them, each with an attendant
We ere just in time for a show
Put on by one of the attendants
“Did you bring your bathing suit?”. he asked
Leaning over to look into the eyes of one old woman
Speaking like I do with Luke
It was a joke but no one was laughing at a young man treating
An elderly woman like she was a child
“No,” she said in the same voice she had used before
and then some
I will give you nothing, that voice said
I gave already
To the heart fund
To the church bake sales
To my husband
To my son
To my dying mother
I saw her waves of red anger
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